But pre-show routines are also highly individual, and involve artists preparing their heads for performance just as much as their bodies. That could mean anything from listening to a favorite song, bonding with cast members or meditating.
Feeling like your pre-show ritual could use a bit of inspiration? These 12 pros shared their tried-and-true routines with us:
Choreographer and Entrepreneur Jacob Jonas
Miami City Ballet's Nathalia Arja
Dancer and Choreographer Emma Portner
The Washington Ballet's Ashley Murphy
Dancer and Choreographer Ephrat Asherie
Pacific Northwest Ballet's Leta Biasucci
"For roles that are accompanied by nerves, I like to find time before a performance to spend visualizing the piece. I close my eyes and imagine how the 'perfect' performance would feel. I find this practice to be meditative and allows for me to feel more excited than nervous.
"Not necessarily a ritual, but I have to double-check my performance shoe ribbons and re-sew ones that look like they might possibly come unsewn. Who wants to spend a show worrying about shoes falling off?"
Martha Graham Dance Company's PeiJu Chien-Pott
"I usually arrive at the theater much earlier than the call time. I set up my dressing room to create a feels-like-home space. I do my makeup and hair while I listen to some calm music. And right before I get onstage, I meditate for five minutes and 'talk' to Martha. Finally, I give the stage a kiss."
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Hope Boykin
"My most important ritual is prayer. I simply ask that the audience will see the most honest artist in me. Despite the frustrations, feelings, aches and pains I may be experiencing, I long for the best performance to resonate in the hearts of those watching."
Dancer and Choreographer Caleb Teicher
"I usually improvise to a couple songs by myself to get some creative juices flowing. Then, I try to find some quiet time so that listening to music onstage feels fresh and focused. I may eat some gummy bears, too."